James Murray

The financing authority for the New South Wales public sector TCorp has appointed James Murray as head of real assets and private markets.

He has been with TCorp since 2015 in various roles including senior portfolio manager – diversified funds, defensive assets & credit, taking over from Diane Callebaut who left to join climate advisory and investment firm Pollination earlier this year.

T-Corp has around $21 billion in real assets and private markets, or around 20 per cent of its $105 billion asset portfolio and this will adjust upwards as the fallout in public equities continues.

“TCorp’s current allocation to real assets and private markets will automatically increase as the public equities underperform,” said Stewart Brentnall, chief investment officer in an interview with Investment Magazine.

“This is not a tactically higher allocation at this point in time. Our strategy allocations are a long-term proposition for us, rather than a short-term tactic.”

Over the past year, TCorp has deployed over $3 billion of capital in Australia and overseas. “We expect future investment in this area to remain strong as these assets provide income stability in uncertain times, inflation protection, diversity and sustainability to our portfolio,” said Brentnall.

These include acquiring an interest in 21 Moorfields in London, UK; LOGOS, a high-tech intermodal precinct of NSW; and an independent wholesale fibre to the home network in Italy.

The 16-person team manages the portfolio through a mix of fund investments, club-style investments and direct investments. Brentnall believes T-Corp will increase the latter over time.

“We have a preference for more direct access to assets as it gives us better control of liquidity decisions when we want to increase the size of the asset,” he said.

“Or where we might want to recycle capital and sell some assets and buy others, it is easier to do that with directly owned assets than it is with fund holdings, where withdrawing capital can be a very protracted process.”

“In owning an asset directly, we have much better governance rights [such as the appointment of directors to the board] and essentially more influence ultimately over business decisions that are made around the asset and hopefully for the purpose of driving higher risk adjusted returns.”

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